Mately has recently launched a funding campaign to start a new subscription service that will test its users for STIs and also allow them to share the results with sexual partners. How effective is this form of STI testing? Will it reduce stigma or simply become a privacy nightmare?
Meeting new people can be intimidating. Not knowing whether you are going to click with someone is daunting, but if you do want to engage in casual sex, unless they are upfront, it is often impossible to tell if they have an STI.
Normalising STI testing
The idea is relatively simple. For a monthly fee, members will be tested for a variety of STIs, including chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhoea and syphilis. Their core mission is to normalise STI testing and ensure that disclosure is a core part of the dating routine. The kits will be sent to a company-owned testing facility to be processed. Once members have been given their results, they will also be provided with a link that can be shared with sexual partners that might also be affected.
There are clear privacy concerns, but the creators are certain that the website that houses the test results will be highly secure and remain un-searchable. The company understands the online shaming potential that could result and is eager to take relevant precautions and carefully modify the ways in which information is displayed. The service will also take steps to ensure that every user is personally completing each STI test that is sent to them. Regular DNA testing will be completed and matched to the sample DNA swab taken upon joining the service.
Taking control of your sexual health
Many people want to obtain agency over their own sexual health, and it is believed that this new service will attract a wide user base, particularly amongst online dating apps like Tinder. If you are at all concerned about your sexual health and are looking for services offering STI testing London is home to a variety of options, including the comprehensive service that can be found at checkurself.org.uk/plus/.
As more people become more comfortable with the idea of sharing their health information with new and prospective sexual partners, the stigma surrounding STIs could drop and the desire to be transparent may become much more common.